Let’s face it people, as far as social media is concerned, Instagram has become the key platform of the fashion industry for both brands and consumers alike. With over 400 million active monthly users, it’s no wonder that fashion brands, including large, well established ones, have integrated Instagram as a core part of their branding and marketing strategies. One way to effectively build your brand on Instagram is to work with an influencer.
What is influencer?
Simply put, an influencer is someone who can impact consumer behavior. As a fashion company on Instagram, you are trying to get your consumer to take some form of action, whether it be to follow your page, like your posts, comment on your posts, recommend your brand or pay you the ultimate compliment of actually purchasing from your brand. Good influencers have the power to steer and influence consumer behavior and aligning yourself with key influencers can have tremendous benefits for your brand and help contribute to your bottom line.
Why do you need an influencer?
Influencers are a powerful form of social proof. Gone are the days where consumers make purchasing decisions based on advertisements alone, they’re smart, savvy and they have tons of choices so they want proof that the items they’re seeking to purchase are worth it. Influencers give them just the proof they need. To the consumer, the influencer is someone they already follow, respect and admire so if that influencer recommends your brand, there’s a strong likelihood the consumer will buy from you.
So now that you know the what and why, here are 5 key tips to launching a successful influencer marketing campaign on Instagram.
1. Research your influencer
Once you determine what your goal is you want to start with researching your influencer to ensure they focus on your target market. As a general matter, it’s a good idea to make a list of the top 5 influencers you want to work with and start your research from there. This will help to narrow your choices and streamline your research. There is nothing worse than spending time, energy and money going after influencers who have followers that are not interested in buying your product. It is not uncommon to be approached by influencers with huge followings asking to collaborate with you to feature your product, but when you look at their accounts; their followers have absolutely no connection to your target audience. To maximize your investment, you want to be laser focused on your target market so make sure the influencer is targeting them as well.
You also want to make sure they have the right number of followers. There really is no magic number but obviously the more the better. As a general rule, we typically seek out influencer accounts with 100K or more. That number may be different for your business depending on your product or niche, but in any case, you want to reach the most amount of people within your market segment.
Another important factor to consider is location. Find out whether their followers are from a particular geographic region. If so, understand whether that presents any opportunities or limitations for your overall strategy. You may be trying to target Europe or Asia so if your influencer has mostly U.S. followers then they’re probably not the right partner. Alternatively, if they focus on a geographic area that you’re trying to reach, then you’re golden!
2. Brand alignment
It is critical to make sure the influencer’s brand persona is aligned with yours. If their brand is subdued and laid back while yours is whimsical and playful, it is probably not a good fit. Likewise, if they post offensive, obscene or inappropriate content, you want to be thoughtful about whether or not a collaboration makes sense. You have to ask yourself whether this will cause any reputational harm or potentially dilute your brand. Even if the influencer is well positioned with your target market and has a large following, you have to make sure you protect your brand at all costs and if the risk of reputational harm is too great then it’s always a good idea to steer clear.
3. Be crystal clear about the deliverable
What are they going to do with your product? Are they styling an outfit and posting it to their page? Are they giving an independent review? Are they encouraging followers to follow your account? If they are a blogger will the review be a blog post as well? Will they share it across their other social media accounts? One important thing to note is that the influencer is loyal to their followers and they typically want to be honest with them. You should make it clear that if the review is less than favorable, you prefer to discuss it before having them post. This may give you the opportunity to remedy the issue and change the outcome of the review before they post. In any case, both parties must be clear about what the expected deliverable is so there are no surprises and expectations are appropriately managed.
4. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.
Never feel intimidated and accept terms you are not comfortable with. Speak up and negotiate. You never know until you ask. These people are human beings and the relationship is often mutually beneficial so they want to make it work. Make it so it’s a win for everyone.
5. Have a means to measure your ROI
You should have a way to determine your return on investment. For example, if you started with 2000 followers and after the promotion you have 4000, then you have a measurable ROI. If more sales is your goal, you can also offer a discount code specific to that influencer so you can see which sales are coming from that promotion. It’s a good idea to have some quantifiable way to determine if the collaboration was worthwhile.
Working with an influencer can be challenging but also enormously rewarding. If you follow the tips listed above it can be fun and lead to strong brand recognition, increased followers and more sales for you brand.